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April 12, 1968 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Epic Story of Heart Transplant' April 12, 1968

By EDGAR BERNSTEIN

(S. African Correspondent to JTA)
(Copyright 1968, JTA Inc.)

Rabbi Arthur Super, it cabled
Anglo-Jewry's new Chief Rabbi,
Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits, for-
merly of New York, who is
recognized as a world authority
on Jewish medical ethics and
who chaired a special rabbinical
commission on the vexed ques-
tion of autopsies. He cabled in
reply: "Judaism cannot but en-

JOHANNESBURG — There are
occasions, in the unfolding drama
of current history, when one
breathes a special Sheheheyanu: -
Thank you, God, for having pre-
served us to savor this historic
moment.
On that December day of 1967
when news was released that in
the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape
Town the first transplant, in all
history, of a human heart had been
successfully performed, and the
patient was progressing, I
breathed the blessing with reli-
gious conviction, feeling that here
the frontier had been crossed in
a direction that could lead only to
good.
Then one began to think the
little human things. Washkansky,
a strange name: who was he? The
doctors who performed the opera-
tion—who were they? Chris Barn-
DR. PHILIP BLAIBERG
ard—as one said the name, it had
a simple homely ring.
thusiastically applaud medical
Well, it turned out to be just triumph in service of human life.
that. Louis Washkansky was as Operation sanctioned provided
plain a man as Chris Barnard: a prior death of donor definitely
Cape Town Jew moderately cir- established."
cumstanced, with a loving wife
Chief Rabbi Casper wrote a spe-
and family; a man without pre- cial Halakhic opinion in which he
tensions, honest, courageous and demonstrated that the operation
kindly, who had earned the respect conformed to the requirements of
of all his acquaintances. An immi- Jewish Law.
grant from Lithuania, he had
Chief Rabbi Abrahams said:
served in the South African Army "Jewish law holds life sacred.
in World War II, was described by Hence it permits even acts that
soldiers who had served with him might normally be regarded as
as a brave and gallant soldier. He transgressions on Jewish law, in
was a member of a Hebrew con- order to save life. A classic ex-
gregation in Cape Town, took an ample is the permission to per-
interest in Jewish communal af- form work on the Sabbath in order
fairs — was an eigener mensh. to save a life. This transplan opera-
And Barnard was a down-to-earth
tion would come into the same
Afrikaner, the son of poor but pious
parents, who had given him a category."
Rabbi Super said: "As far as
reverence for life and he had cul-
tivated his talents not for wealth Reform is concerned, we are very
much in favor of human trans-
but for dedication.
plants and autopsies, and in fact
In the first two idyllic weeks, anything which is likely to result
when everything went right with in human life being even remotely
that operation, we all basked in saved."
the wonder of it, and the simple
When the second heart trans-
humanity of the protagonists. And plant was performed (coincident-
as we poignantly sympathized with
ally also on a Jewish patient, Dr.
the bereaved father of Denise Philip Blaiberg), a Cape Town
Darvell, the tragic donor of the newspaper asked Chief Rabbi
heart that had been grafted into
Abrahams for his reaction to the
Louis Washkansky (the father
mourning his double loss, wife and fact that the donor heart was taken
from a young colored man, Clive
daughter killed in the same acci-
dent), we felt that somehow the Haupt, who had suddenly col-
permission which he had given for lansed on the beach. The Chief
of
the transplant had made him a Rabbi replied: "The question
all other
partner in the undertaking and the saving life supersedes
considerations. Just as a white
achievement.
person's kidneys could he trans-
That operation raised problems planted into a colored person (a
that were not only medical. What reference to the transplant of
were the legal, moral and reli- '1"1 ,.nise Darvell's kidneys to a
gious implications? How did the colored child to save his life), so
churches feel about a heart trans- it is equally legitimate to trans-
plant? The legal problems were nlant a colored person's heart in-
easiest to resolve. The patient n to a white person. Medicine is
must consent to the operation. The concerned with biological and cur-
donor's family must give consent 1 ative factors, not with color prob-
for the transplant of the dead rela- lems."
tive's heart. Death must be estab-
Spokesmen for most churches—
lished beyond the faintest margin including South Africa's Dutch Re-
of doubt. The moral problems were formed Church — took a similar
more involved and the- debate on view.
them will continue. The churches
There was nothing p a r o c i a l
expressed the view that, provided about the Cae Town heart trans-
death was definitely established, plant operations. The medical
the operation was not opposed to team. led by Afrikaners. included
their tenets.
Englishmen and .Jews. And if, in
The South African Jewish the Jewish community, we espe-
Times took the initiative of seek- cially mentioned the names of
ing rabbinical opinion on the Prof. Velve Schrire and Dr. J.
implications for Jewish Law. In Ozinsky, it was in the full knowl-
addition to asking the views of edge and appreciation that the
Chief Rabbi Prof. Israel Abra- man whose hands performed the
hams in Cape Town, Chief Rabbi transplant was Chris Barnard and
Bernard Casper in Johannesburg no other. Nor was there anything
and Chief Johannesburg Reform "proprietary" about our interest

DEXTER DAVISON
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Wish All Their Many Customers and Friends
A Joyous Passover

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in the fact that the first two
patients happened to be members
of our community.,
Non-Jews reacted in the same
way. All of us, Jew and non-Jew
alike, felt warm and close and
"good" about it.
A criticism now being heard on
many sides (including doctors) is
that the publicity is being over-
done. It was right that Dr. Barn-
ard should have given the full
story to the press, it was right that
the press and TV should have
focused human interest on the
Washkansky family and the Blai-
berg family .. . but now it is be-
coming too much. Patient Blai-
berg's daughter Jill, here on a
visit from Israel to see her father,
put it into correct perSpective
when, reacting to the badgering by
journalists, she said: "I am not a
film star. Why can't they stop
pestering me for photographs and
interviews?"

Canaan

By RABBI SAMUEL FOX

(Copyright 1968, JTA Inc.)

The name "Canaan" which is
used in the Bible as the name of
the land which the Almightly pro-
mised to Abraham and his seed has
been found in cuneiform records
from Nuzi which date from about
1500 or 1600 BCE. In those texts,
which are in the possession of the
Semitic museum at Harvard Uni-
versity, the term is "Kinnahu."
The expression seems to be used
as an adjective to describe the
color of a dye. This is some type
of "red." Some have linked this
to the color purple which was
known as "Uqnu" in ancient text.
The name "Canaan" thus repre-
sents an expression meaning "pur-
ple dye." Apparently the Canaan-
ites had become known as wool
merchants who discovered and
were proficient in the method of
dyeing wool into a purplish color.
It is interesting to note that in
the area of the Ancient North
Syrian city of Ugarit (Now known
as Raspesh - Shamrah) archae-
ological excavators have found
traces of workshops for making
purple dye.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Szold Award for Rothschilds

Mrs. Mortimer Jacobson, national president of Hadassah (right),
presents the organization's Henrietta Szold Award to Mrs. James
de Rothschild of London, who accepted it on behalf of the Rothschild
family. The Rothschilds were honored by Hadassah in recognition of
their contributions to the development of Israel and the advancement
of health. The Szold award comprises a citation and a $1,000 gift. A
second Szold award was given to Henrietta Szold-Hadassah School of
Nursing. Presentations were made at Hadassah's mid-winter con-
ference at Jerusalem's Binyanei Ha'ooma.

Clawson Concrete Company
Division of Edw. C. Levy Co.

Wishes

OUR HAPPY COMMUNITY
A HAPPY PASSOVER

SHALOM

SHALOM

Passover ... the Everlasting
Festival of Redemption

Passover, as the Festival of Ingather-
ing, the historic reminiscence of our
People's birth as a nation, admonishes
us to remember the everlasting idea
inherent in the holiday of redemption.
We continue to draw inspiration from
Prophecy:

"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come with singing unto Zion,
And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads:
They shall obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
(Isaiah 35:10)

May the Passover of our day continue to
strengthen us in our links with the past.

A Happy Passover To Our Families, To Our
Community And The Entire Community of Israel

097ie Stollm,ans

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